On the Right Track: Ask an expert about their experiences and best practices
Adam Minsky is the President and CEO of UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. He is a 46-year-old leader who is a product of the Canadian Jewish Federation movement. Adam’s leadership extends well past Toronto’s borders, as he played an integral role in the founding of many important national initiatives including the creation of the Canada Israel Experience and its Birthright Israel programs. For more than a decade, Adam has dedicated himself to strengthening the strategic impact of UJA Federation through its network of local, national and international agencies. Most recently, Adam led the development of UJA Federation’s Strategic Plan, which outlines an exciting vision for the future of UJA Federation. In 2013, Adam was honoured to receive the Gordon Wolfe Award for Professional Leadership in recognition of his ability to lead with vision, integrity, Jewish values and humility.
Adina Lipson, the PJ Library Manager of the Toronto region, has been involved in the field of early childhood and elementary education for over 20 years. She has worked as a teacher and director at various Jewish day schools, in the Jewish camping world, and in the field of corporate child care, and as coordinator of the PJ Plus program here in Toronto. PJ Plus is a weekly parent/tot program based on PJ Library books, that can be held in a synagogue, school, home, JCC, public space or home setting, and is a key mechanism for any institution to engage young families in Jewish life. Having hailed from the United States, she currently lives in Toronto.
As a child Kate Noam participated in the Jewish Agency first summer camps back in Moscow, Russia. She moved with her family to Israel at the age of 12. After finishing the army and two academic degrees in the field of political science and diplomacy, Kate worked as an initiator of the programs for Russian speaking Diaspora in North America. Kate graduated Jewish Agency training seminars in the field of informal Jewish education and worked in specialty summer camps in FSU, New York, Israel and Canada. Since 2011 Kate leads a portfolio that focuses on community building and identity empowerment among the Russian speaking Jewish community of Toronto, overseeing activity and outreach strategies at Schwartz/Reisman Centre including J.Roots Supplementary School; J.Academy Overnight Camp; Jewski - Hillel; Limmud FSU and more.
Lee Mes grew up in Petach Tikva and served in the IDF at the intelligence forces training base. She has a magna cum laude MA from Tel Aviv University in Political and communication studies. Lee moved to Toronto in 2003 and began working in the Jewish community as an Israeli community outreach coordinator for Hillel and MNJCC. Lee is currently the Director of Canadian – Israeli outreach & engagement for UJA. She co-staffs the Emerging Communities Committee (ECC) and leads a portfolio that focuses on community building among the Israeli-Canadian community of Toronto. Lee oversees the activity and outreach strategy of UJA for the Israeli-Canadian community that include initiatives in Schwartz/Reisman Centre like Kachol–Lavan Supplementary School; Tzufim – the Israeli scout, Mifgash Theatre. In MNJCC: Israeli parenthood centre, Israeli Kabbalat Shabbat and Ivrit B’downtown. Grassroots initiatives like Israeli film series, Israeli culture initiatives with Hillel and more.
Paul Lewis is a Program Officer for PJ Library. He travels the country to launch the program in new communities and grow it where it already exists. Paul joined PJ Library in 2009 after more than 30 years in journalism. He was an on-air TV reporter, an investigative producer, and a news executive. Along the way, he won numerous awards for journalistic excellence, including multiple Emmys and a Peabody.
Robyn Cohen has a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto. She has worked in the area of child and adolescent mental health for many years in private practice, at Youthdale Treatment Centres and at Jewish Family and Child Service. Currently she is the Manager of The Jerome Diamond Adolescent Center, a day treatment centre for adolescents with emotional, behavioural and/or academic problems. Her strengths lie in understanding the challenges that families face when encountering difficulties accessing and understanding mental health services and treatment.
Goldie Plotkin is co-director of Chabad of Markham in Thornhill, Ontario and director of the Torah Tots Pre-School. She was the keynote speaker at the International Convention of Shluchos in 2010.